Politics, Rights, Technology

The NSA Comes Recruiting

The NSA came to recruit at a language program at the University of Wisconsin where I am spending my summer learning a language. Two recruiters, a redhead who looked more like a middle-aged 2013 NSA flyer copymother and a portly, balding man, began to go through slides explaining the NSA and its work.

I had intended to go simply to hear how the NSA is recruiting at a moment when it’s facing severe challenges, what with the Edward Snowden and all. Dismayingly, however, a local high school teacher had thought it was good to bring 5 of his students to the session. They were smartly dressed, some of them even wearing ties as if there might be a job interview, young faces in a classroom of graduate students. They sat across from me at the roundtable. It was really their presence that goaded me–and I think a couple of other students–into an interaction with the recruiters.

Roughly half an hour into the session, the exchange below began. I began by asking them how they understood the term adversary since the surveillance seems to be far beyond those the American state classifies as enemies, and their understanding of that ties into the recruiters’ earlier statement that the globe is our playground. I ended up asking them whether being a liar was a qualification for the NSA because:

The NSA’s instrumental understanding of language as well as its claustrophobic social world was readily apparent. One of the recruiters discussed how they tend to socialize after work, dressing up in costumes and getting drunk (referenced below). I can imagine that also exerts a lot of social pressure and works as a kind of social closure from which it would be difficult to escape. The last thing I want to point out — once again — their defence seems to be that it’s legal. What is legal is not just.

Someone else happened to record it on an iPhone, hence the audio quality. It’s been edited mainly to cut garbled audio or audio that wouldn’t have made sense and edit out questions and comments from people who didn’t explicitly say it was okay to post their audio. You’ll hear the sound drop out for a second to mark the cuts — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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